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Library of Congress: Voices from the Days of Slavery

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  • Library of Congress: Voices from the Days of Slavery

    This is incredible. On the Library of Congress' website is Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories, which is precisely what it says, audio recordings of interviews with former slaves.


    The almost seven hours of recorded interviews presented here took place between 1932 and 1975 in nine Southern states. Twenty-three interviewees, born between 1823 and the early 1860s, discuss how they felt about slavery, slaveholders, coercion of slaves, their families, and freedom. Several individuals sing songs, many of which were learned during the time of their enslavement. It is important to note that all of the interviewees spoke sixty or more years after the end of their enslavement, and it is their full lives that are reflected in these recordings. The individuals documented in this presentation have much to say about living as African Americans from the 1870s to the 1930s, and beyond.

    All known recordings of former slaves in the American Folklife Center are included in this presentation. Some are being made publicly available for the first time and several others already available now include complete transcriptions. Unfortunately, not all the recordings are clearly audible. Although the original tapes and discs are generally in good physical condition, background noise and poorly positioned microphones make it extremely difficult to follow many of the interviews.

  • #2
    It's hard to hear some of them. They have transcriptions for most. Good stuff. Thanks!
    I do not wish to have the slave emancipated because I love him, but because I hate his master."
    --Salmon P. Chase


    • #3
      Fantastic info!
      The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.


      • #4
        Great find!
        Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.


        • #5
          This is the sort of historical trove that really helps bring history alive, and drives home the human side of slavery.


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